Supermarkets pass Brexit burden onto suppliers

Around one in ten suppliers have had wholesale agreements changed by supermarkets over Brexit, a watchdog has reported. 

According to groceries code adjudicator Mark White, roughly 190 suppliers have been forced to bear additional costs, such as paying extra to make up lorry driver shortfalls. 

Retailers “must not request or require” that suppliers make “retrospective” changes to agreements under government regulations. 

“We are talking about suppliers being asked to pay for containers costs that have gone up unexpectedly and the shortage of drivers,” White told The Grocer. 

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“I will be looking to see if [supermarkets] have a blanket system or if it’s been different for smaller suppliers.” 

He added that he was “concerned” about the development and would be “talking to retailers about it”. 

The news comes as the UK-EU “Sausage War” continues to escalate, with the government proving reluctant to introduce border checks on chilled meats moving between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain. 

Yesterday, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic threatened “legal action” and “retaliation”. 

Around 40 per cent of suppliers believe Brexit will be the biggest issue they face over the next year, according to White’s report. 

Iceland was ranked lowest of the 13 supermarkets for treatment of suppliers, scoring 86 per cent. 

Aldi, the top-ranked grocer since 2014, lost out on the top spot to Sainsbury’s and had to settle for joint-second with the Co-op. 

Almost 30 per cent of suppliers faced an issue with a supermarket overall. 

FinanceSupermarkets

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